Air quality and equalities

Author: Samir Jeraj

Corporate author: Race Equality Foundation

Briefing series: First Steps

Publication date: June 2017

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The First Steps programme is delivering a range of activities to support the sustainability and infrastructure of London voluntary and community organisations working with children, young people and families.

Concerns about the falling quality of air and its health impacts have become a significant issue in the UK, particularly in London. It is also a global problem. In 2014, 92% of the world population was living in places where World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines levels were not met (WHO, 2016).

The main dangers to air quality are from:

  • Particulate matter (PM)i
  • Ozone (O3)
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and
  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

These all have a direct impact on the health of people who live and work in areas of poor air quality. People with particularly vulnerabilities are likely to have higher exposure to poor air quality and to have poorer outcomes as a result.